The family of Darrius Kennedy, the knife-wielding man NYPD police gunned down on Saturday evening, is speaking out today, claiming that the cops used excessive force when they shot the 51-year-old in Times Square.
According to the New York Daily News, relatives of Kennedy are upset with NYPD brass' "over use" of force during the heated confrontation.
Kennedy’s aunt Margaret Johnson said:
“It doesn't take 12 bullets to kill one person…I think it could have been done another way.”
But NYPD Commissioner Raymond Kelly feels that in light of the situation, the shooting was justified and appropriate.
Police fired at Kennedy 12 times after he lunged at them with a knife Saturday afternoon, sending tourists running for cover.
Kelly told reporters Sunday:
“I think the police responded appropriately…He had a knife and he was going after people,” the mayor told reporters. “It’s just one of those terrible unfortunate events.”
According to the NYDN:
The confrontation began when a cop spied Kennedy smoking marijuana at 44th St and 7th Ave. just after 3 p.m. Saturday.
Kennedy grew belligerent, and when police attempted to cuff him, he struggled free, pulling an Ikea kitchen knife with a six-inch blade out of his pocket and waving it over his head.
He backed down 7th Ave for seven blocks as more cops amassed.
“He’s not fleeing,” said NYPD spokesman Paul Browne. “He’s backing up continuing to menace them and members of the public nearby with the knife.”
Kennedy was pepper-sprayed six times by four cops to little effect.
“He’s repeatedly told throughout this period to drop the knife,” said Browne.
Two police cars pulled onto the sidewalk, attempting to block Kennedy’s path down 7th Ave. as he approached 37th St.
The madman squeezed past the first vehicle before its driver could get out, but officers from the second car jumped out to confront him.
“He comes at them,” Browne said.
As Kennedy lunged at the two cops with his knife, they fired 12 times. Neither officer had discharged their weapon in the line of duty before, police said. Both are from the Midtown South precinct.
Kennedy’s family says that he was an easy-going musician who played bass in church in his hometown of Hempstead, L.I.
They insist that the NYPD could have done a better job throughout the situation. Do you think the shooting of Kennedy was excessive?